Austin Pets Alive! | Barn Cat Program

Barn Cat Program

A win-win for both our non-traditional house cats and adopters!
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When Austin Pets Alive! rescues poorly socialized and feral cats from other shelters, we sometimes have to consider non-traditional adoption placement. The APA! Barn Cat Program was instituted in 2009 and was designed to help a specific population of cats – those who may not be comfortable living in a traditional home setting, but would be incredibly helpful and happy as working cats to local homeowners, landowners, and businesses who have a need for pest control. Since 2009, APA! has placed around 300 barn cats each year, contributing to Austin’s No Kill status. We believe that these cats don’t deserve to die simply because they can’t go into a typical home environment. We recognize that they deserve shelter, access to food and water, and the stimulation of critter hunting that a barn placement provides.

APA! barn cats come from the euthanasia list of animal control, and this innovative program serves as their only live path out of impoundment, as these cats cannot be adopted as traditional pets, are not eligible for Trap-Neuter-Return, and, for one reason or another, cannot be returned to their original outdoor habitat, which is always preferable. Without this program, feral cats would be euthanized at local animal control facilities.

Instead, these cats are sterilized, vaccinated, microchipped, and adopted to families who appreciate working cats for critter patrol and can provide a safe, appropriate environment such as a barn, stable, garage, or warehouse. This way, these cats enjoy safe outdoor homes with shelter and a caregiver and adopters enjoy having healthy, sterilized cats happily tend to their mouse, snake, or vermin troubles. Our Barn Cat Program is a win-win for both the cats and the adopters, and is now being utilized by shelters and communities across the country!

Interested in adopting a barn cat and housing some of APA!’s most lovable free spirits?

Check out the Barn Cat Adoption FAQ and fill out the Barn Cat Adoption Interest form here.

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Program Achievements

Found homes for 200 barn cats in 2016, 225 in 2017, nearly 300 in 2018, and 221 in 2019.

Successfully find safe homes for barn cats with special medical needs such as FeLV+ cats, tripods, and seniors.

Our TLAC location has a special enclosure for barn cats with specific medical needs, bringing our capacity to 50 barn cats.

Placed three barn cats as official police animals in 2014.

Through Maddie's Lifesaving Academy, partner shelters in cities as far as Florida and as near as Georgetown were assisted in establishing their own barn cat programs, increasing live outcomes for feral cats across the country.

Some of our particularly keen and ambitious barn cats provided vermin control assistance following the 2011 Bastrop fires.

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